Thursday, June 8, 2023

Bombay High Court disposes PIL alleging fraud in tenders

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The Bombay High Court disposed of a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed alleging that duplicate tenders were fraudulently prepared and excess amount was paid to the contractor at the behest of the private respondent.

According to the Petitioner the vigilance enquiry was also conducted against the private respondent who was found guilty. Still the Maharashtra Housing Area and Development Authority (respondent no.1) went on promoting the private respondent to Chief ICT Officer. Further action is not taken pursuant to the vigilance report.

The Counsel for the respondents submits that it was by mistake that the excess amount was paid. The bid of Private Limited is Rs.1,16,72,625/-. Later they submitted documents enhancing the amount to Rs.1,24,85,644/-. This happened because the original proposal i.e. bid and bid proposal was misplaced. When it came to the knowledge, the mistake was rectified and a letter dated 19/9/2019 was issued to refund the excess amount Rs.8,12,644 along with interest and the said amount was refunded by the Pvt. Ltd.

The Division Bench of Acting Chief Justice S.V.Gangapurwala and Justice Sandeep V. Marne held that in the PIL , the Bench would not go into vigilance enquiry report and further steps undertaken pursuant thereto. That would be a different aspect altogether. The parties can act upon the vigilance report.

As far as the recovery is concerned, the same was made even before filing of complaint by the petitioner. It is not the case that because of the complaint of the petitioner, the respondents rectified the mistake. Prior to the complaint, the mistake was rectified and an excess amount recovered , observed the Bench.

As far as promotion is concerned , the High Court observed that under service jurisprudence, the petitioner would not have locus standi in respect of the same.

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